Posted on 15th May 2013

Posted by Sophie

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All The Beggars Riding

Lucy Caldwell’s All The Beggars Riding is difficult to write about without spoiling its effects. Not that the twists and revelations in it are particularly dramatic – in fact almost the opposite – but that they are so deeply woven into the fabric of the story that to tell to any great extent what the book…

Posted on 14th May 2013

Posted by Sam

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All the Beggars Riding

‘A jagged, searing and intense perspective on love, loss, the chaos of memory and so much more… an insightful and memorable novel.’ Lynne Hatwell  Literary Blogger at dovegreyreader scribbles Synopsis: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. (Trad.) Lara’s father was a prominent plastic surgeon who had honed his skills on the bomb victims of…

Posted on 24th May 2012

Posted by Sophie

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Hit and Run

Doug Johnstone’s Hit & Run begins when Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Frank Whitehouse, is run over in the early hours by a group of drug-fuelled twenty-somethings. They scramble about in a daze and end up dumping the body in long grass by the roadside, looking to save their reputations and careers. Billy,  the driver of…

Posted on 22nd May 2012

Posted by Sam

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Hit and Run

‘The whole panel were impressed with the non-stop energy of Hit and Run. Just when you think his protagonist has no further left to fall, he makes another crazy decision that amps up the suspense to an even greater level.’ Matt Thorne, writer and Head of Creative Writing at Brunel University 2012 Judging Panel Synopsis:…

Posted on 21st May 2012

Posted by Sophie

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The Mill for Grinding Old People Young

Glenn Patterson has sometimes been dubbed ‘Northern Ireland’s prose laureate’, and in this novel it’s not hard to see why.  The Mill for Grinding Old People Young takes us back to Belfast in the 1820s, a city in which ‘all things great and small came down to the tide’, and that tide seems to be…

Posted on 19th March 2012

Posted by Sophie

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Fiction Uncovered by…Gemma Seltzer, Arts Council England

Any novel that involves whispered conversations with a series of saints, a small ghost child in a wardrobe, a six-inch feathered moth and a ‘cold river green’ house wins a prize place on my bookshelf for sheer randomness. Salvage, a 2007 debut novel by Jane F. Kotapish, tells the story of a woman in her thirties leaving Manhattan for…

Posted on 28th February 2012

Posted by Sophie

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Orchid Blue

A fictional account of the murder of nineteen-year-old Pearl Gamble and subsequent conviction of Robert McGladdery, the last man to be hung in Northern Ireland, Eoin McNamee’s Orchid Blue questions the idea of justice at the same time as blending a literary element into a crime theme. Detective Eddie McCrink, recently returned to his homeland from London,…

Posted on 12th July 2011

Posted by Sophie

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Fiction Uncovered by… Angus Cargill, Senior Editor, Faber and Faber

Gerard Donovan’s 2006 novel, Julius Winsome, is to my mind one of the great short novels – a perfectly formed little masterpiece. A novel about beauty and loneliness, it’s also, due to Donovan’s masterful skill, a novel whose true nature creeps up on you, almost without you noticing. It’s like a Chekhov story with a…

Posted on 6th July 2011

Posted by Sophie

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The Parts

With some books it takes only a couple of pages to be reminded of the sheer number of talents a writer must combine to create a great novel. So it is with The Parts, in which Keith Ridgway must assume not only the role of a stylish choreographer to a diverse cast of characters and…

Posted on 27th April 2011

Posted by Sophie

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Playing Days

‘How are you gonna write the book,’ demands Ben Markovits’ teammate and sometime adversary Bo Hadnot, ‘if you don’t know a thing about basketball?’ Perhaps a pertinent re-phrasing would be: ‘how are you going to read the book?’ Playing Days is a sports novel, but it’s also a study of an individual consciousness and a…

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